Wednesday 5 July 2023

Primary creation (of God the Father) is opt-out; the second creation (of Jesus Christ) is opt-in

The primary creation was imposed-upon the pre-existing and eternal Beings by God. 

This imposition was by necessity. Before creation, Beings existed in isolation and without relationships - thus direction, purpose and meaning in a creation based-upon Love emerged only after primary creation. 

In this sense, also, freedom and the capacity for an agency based on distinguishing the self from the not-self was only possible post-creation. 

(i.e. We cannot know we are a self until after we know of other selves.)  

Therefore it was impossible for any Being to opt-out of creation, until after creation, because there could be no consent to creation, nor of 'opting', until after creation had-happened -- hence the necessity for its imposition. 

But Love is by mutual consent only; and this meant that Beings were 'incorporated' into primary creation without consent; and (it seems) some of them withdrew consent almost immediately. 

To be clear: all the Beings of creation (even Satan, the first rebel against God) have been, even if briefly, subordinated to God's creation. 

Probably some who withdrew consent - who rapidly opted-out of creation - were incapable of Love; probably others were capable of Love, but did Not wish to make Love the basis of 'organization'... 

Those who opted-out include what we regard as Satan and the demons - in other words these were never-incarnated spirit Beings. 

Because primary creation cannot be undone or reversed (because now Beings Know about each other) the 'rebels' ultimate or distal 'goal' (insofar as they are explicitly aware of it) is a power-based reality; in which Beings are in a situation of antagonism and attempted domination or exploitation - which themselves (and, maybe, some recruits?) as the dominant exploiters. 

In a nutshell; the demons, and all others who have rejected Love/ God/ creation at some later point - aspire to a reality based-on relationships of power and selfishness

Thus they have chosen to opt-out of primary creation.

In primary creation (which was all of creation before the advent of Jesus Christ) God operates as a power acting-upon us, i.e. upon Beings. 

In a sense; God does creation to us

Living in creation is therefore the default situation; from-which we would need to opt-out if we did not want it.  

This imposed-creation situation was recognized by all the old religions, and still is recognized (at least implicitly) by those religions that have a supreme God but do not recognize the truth and desirability of Jesus Christ. 

Therefore the Old Gods, and the understanding of the ancient monotheistic God of the Hebrews or the later God of Islam - regard God as primarily power. 

And such a God of non-optional imposed-creation demands of us obedient service above all else - which goes-with a relationship as essentially one of awe, fear, submission, propitiation etc. That is; a relationship analogous to that of an ignorant peasant towards the absolute Emperor of vast domains. 

As I said; this attitude is a natural consequence of the primary creation in which creation was done to us. Our understanding-of and relationship-to God is of one who is done-to - who is insignificant; not one who participates-in, or who himself contributes something of substantive value. 

The secondary creation was made-to-happen by Jesus Christ; and this fundamentally changed our relation with God

The second creation was (for the first time) an opt-in situation, and made God (potentially) the supreme beloved Father of a vast family -- rather than King of 'a people'. 

Since the second creation; God no longer requires or desires us to regard him as primarily a power, but a loving parent; God no longer requires our obedient submission to His imposed authority, but invites our loving participation in his continuing work of creation. 

The secondary creation involves Beings that are already free agents, and who know about other Beings; it involves making the choice of an eternal commitment to live harmoniously with other beings guided by, and in a condition of, mutual love. 

This secondary creation mode-of-Being is achieved by the willing transformation that is resurrection - and the second creation is called Heaven, a situation where we go by our own active desire.  

In the second creation; we are Not supposed-to regard God as remote, incomprehensible, as like a Monarch or a Judge before which we ought-to abase ourselves in submission and obedience... 

And we are Not supposed to regard our-selves as insignificant, superfluous, functionless... but as irreplaceable and able to add some-thing worthwhile to what-is - across eternity.  

We are instead supposed to have an attitude to God of love, gratitude, joy, positivity, energy, excitement; a desire to bring the best of ourselves to the work of God's divine family; to join-in with the plans of divine creating.  

Because the second creation is opt-in; some who reject God include those who opted-out after becoming incarnated into this mortal life. They lived in primary creation as pre-mortal spirits without opting-out; but after they were born as Men, they made the decision (whether before or after death) "not to opt-into" the second creation.

To clarify: Because the second creation is opt-in; there are those who positively reject the second or the first creation (presumably Satan and the demons, but probably others too), but also those who negatively do not want the second creation. These may still be prepared not to opt-out from the first creation - these would include many religious but-not-Christian people, including some self-identified Christians who actually don't want what Jesus offers!.   

The difference between dwelling in the first and second creation is therefore a vital difference for Christians to grasp; if they are not to fall-into an attitude to God that fits the opt-out primary, but not the opt-in secondary creation.

"Christians" who get their idea of God from the pre-Jesus era of the Jews of the Old Testament, tend to have the 'negative' attitudes of the first creation (e.g. the primacy of obedience to power), but fail to understand or embrace the essential qualitative difference that Jesus made. 

Such people are sometimes therefore de facto non-Christians, in terms of their attitudes and expectations, and their desires. 

But the reality is that Jesus Christ changed the fundamental possibilities of reality; things are possible since Jesus that were not possible before Jesus.

The Big Question is whether we personally want what Jesus made possible - or not? 

If we want it, we each must choose it. 

We must then opt-in...

H/T - Loic Simond for a comment that triggered the thinking that led to this post. 


Francis Berger said...

Excellent post.

Everything lines up for me, but I struggle to understand the idea of God imposing creation without consent, or the impossibility of opting out of creation pre-creation. To do so would be a major infringement on freedom. God imposing primary creation on eternally existing beings is not much different from God creating creatures out of nothing. In both cases, neither the being nor the creature had a say in the matter -- it was, as you say, just done.

"In this sense, also, freedom and the capacity for an agency based on distinguishing the self from the not-self was only possible post-creation. (i.e. We cannot know we are a self until after we know of other selves.)"

Granted, the freedom of pre-creation beings is the likely kind of primal freedom that would be akin to drifting alone in the middle of an ocean without any awareness of the self or the ocean, but it is still freedom -- call it the primal freedom of non-being, for lack of a better phrase. In this sense, non-being is not nothing; it is still something, but it is not "fully" being - i.e., no agency.

I imagine primary creation as God's offer of agency -- the opportunity for an essentially agent-less but free "non-being being" to become a free being with agency. But I imagine that this had to be offered in some way. Having God simply impose Creation doesn't make sense to me.

For consent to be withdrawn, it first must be given. If God imposed creation, you could argue that Satan's rebellion or the modern atheist's resentment might be justified. God must have revealed himself or communicated in some way to the eternal beings and presented his offer, to which they consented once they faintly became aware of themselves as selves, as beings or as potential free agents within creation.

Thus they were incorporated into creation as beings with agency and some quickly used this agency to opt out. And the decision to opt out is rooted in the primal freedom the beings brought with them into creation, a primal freedom over which God has no control.

Also, I also suspect not all eternal beings consented to primary creation -- that many chose instead to remain adrift in an ocean of non-awareness, non-agency albeit with a faint memory of self or other selves.

From this perspective, perhaps the more likely order would be opt-in, opt-out, opt-in?

Sorry to ramble on, but I simply cannot find my way around the idea that freedom must precede being.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank - I certainly take your point. And one can create some wriggle room. For example, I think it possible - maybe likely - that there are Beings that have Never been a part of creation because they 'refused' to have anything to do with it from the beginning.

And these Beings would simply have been left alone.

But I emphasized the 'imposing' because I think the situation must be that *by our standards of consent*, here and now; Beings before creation were Not in a position to give 'informed' consent. Maybe we could finesse it and say that there was a 'tacit' consent, but it is best to 'give the devil his due'. We can't have it both ways.

The vast increase of freedom and agency in Beings after creation had begun, would have transformed the situation - such that the state of things after creation would have been almost unimaginable before creation. This would surely have meant that anything more than a negative, permissive, minimal consent would not have been possible. And that that minimal consent might soon begin to seem insufficient for all that was at stake in creation.

I think it would likely have seemed - e.g. from the perspective of what became a demonic Being, a Being that was innately or by choices more much more interested in power and pleasure than Love, or was incapable of Love - that he had been 'hoodwinked' by God into joining creation - that indeed creation had indeed been imposed on him. That he had been 'sold a pig in a poke' - had been tricked into consenting to something he was incapable of imagining.

This (unfortunately) seems to be a common feeling/ attitude in this mortal life: I have often heard people who believe that their life had been imposed upon them by their parents, people saying that that they had been born without their permission. Heidegger talked about the human condition as finding ourselves in the world as if 'thrown' into existence, again without asking consent.

So, this kind of reaction to finding oneself 'in creation' and 'without being asked' is apparently common. Some people are grateful to be a part of creation. Yet others feel that membership of creation has been forced on them, and that therefore they have no obligation to do anything, and are free to do whatever is gratifying. That they owe nothing to anyone.

I have often heard it said that we *were* asked for permission to incarnate, that we chose to incarnate, agreed to our lives - but that cannot be *fully* true if incarnation itself brings a qualitative enhancement of agency. If free will genuinely enables us to choose and shape our lives from moment to moment, then it is impossible to consent in advance to something that is not known in advance.

In other words, there *must be* a significant degree to which creation is imposed - *first* creation. And this is one reason why primary creation before Jesus could not be wholly Good, but was a mixture and contention of Good Creation with evil opposition.

One of the ways in which Jesus Christ was essential to completing the work of creation (and enabling Heaven) was therefore exactly to enable a sufficiently consent to what was necessary for full repentance and transformation to become wholly Good (i.e. Loving) in motivation - and to make possible a wholly Good creation.

Francis Berger said...

Another long comment. Sorry, but this post has me fired up in all the right ways!

Yes, those are good points. Perhaps one way to regard creation as a gift (Arkle) rather than an imposition. I can be given a gift without my explicit consent. In this sense, it is an imposition of sorts, but to regard the gift as purely imposition? Well, that's another matter entirely. Viewed this way, creation is God's ultimate gift of love -- the opportunity for beings to experience agency and align themselves with his creative purposes. As with a conventional gift, I may not have explicitly consented to receiving it, but what I choose to do with it afterwards is up to me.

I think this also addresses the "problem" of freedom. It would be a bit rich to claim that my freedom was imposed upon after I have received a gift that expands and adds to my being, and that also allows me to participate in expanding and adding to the gift via my own unique being. Nevertheless, I still retain my freedom to reject the gift or exploit it or abuse it.

But it is crucial to recognize that this ability is not something God "created" into me. It is a potential I bring into creation -- the free potential for good or evil -- a potential God could not obstruct in primary creation because to do so would also obstruct my potential to align with his Good creative purposes. I believe this also fully exempts God from the old argument of being the creator of evil.

All of that aside for a moment, the most significant point in the post is Jesus and second creation. Jesus was the first man to fully align with God's creative purposes in primary creation (rather than wholly submit, or somewhat align but still submit), was the first to fully know God as father rather than king or tyrant. Put another way, God was always a loving father – Jesus was the first to fully know it.

God’s gift of primary creation was the gift of a loving father, but this gift has either been resisted and rejected outright -- Satan, demons, etc. -- or misconstrued as the imposing force of a dominating all-powerful Absolute being upon whom everything depends, and who is so beyond his creation that the best his creatures could ever hope to accomplish is submission and worship. Of course, God cannot be blamed for this lack of awareness of his true nature and creative purposes.

Jesus understood God as loving father, recognized the gift for what it was, accepted the gift with love, and returned the love with a gift of his own by aligning with (rather than simply submitting to) God’s creation and adding to it in a way God COULD NOT HAVE acting alone.

That is the pinnacle of co-creation! The peak of freedom and love. The full expression and fulfillment of God’s motivations behind his gift of creation. What higher expression of freedom and love could there possibly be? And it is only through Jesus that such knowledge and alignment is possible – I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Your core point about Christians being unable to fit God into the opt-in secondary creation and not really wanting what Jesus offers is vital in this regard. It is something that I have been hammering on about in my own clumsy manner, but this excellent post hones in on the problem in an extremely lucid and illuminating way.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank - I think there needs to be clarity that there may be what feel like, are self-perceived as, 'rational' reasons why individuals reject salvation. The most obvious is when someone is incapable of love, or regards love as relatively unimportant, trivial. Such an individual would obviously be unwilling to love eternally in a world governed by love.

But other reasons - perhaps more common - may happen when someone regards a sin as vitally important, and therefore does not want to repent. This was, for me, best expressed in CS Lewis's The Great Divorce, and also Screwtape Proposes a Toast. Some of the characters in TGD hold onto some apparently small thing at any price.

I have seen this most often with resentment - individuals harbour some resentment against a person, a nation - or whatever; and this becomes centrally important to that person's identity. They will not give it up.

Such resentment may be - often is - directed against people that give a gift, that do a favour, that help - and the resulting felt sense of obligation becomes the cause of resentment. The bigger the gift or favour, the worse the obligation.

This is how I imagine some of the demons reacted to the gift of creation - they would feel their inclusion in creation to be an arrogant, unwanted imposition, and would hate God for it.

Lucas said...

I second Francis, this is an excellent post. I do think that from a Christian/God's perspective his use of the word gift is better than your use of "imposition", as it describes the underlying motivation more accurately. Although as you point out the perception of some beings may have been that it was an imposition. After all, what gives God the right to create by love?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Lucas - I suppose I am aware of the evangelistic aspect - We live in a world that has almost completely rejected God and Jesus Christ, the soul, creation etc. I don't feel that we can assume people will regard creation as a good gift, or even as well-motivated.

My inclination is therefore to describe creation 'factually', as a process; and be clear that creation was in essence done by God to Beings.

Motives, and whether creation was a good thing or not, is something that I think should be left to later - and indeed left to the judgment (or opinion) of each individual, for himself; as it is in real life.

No Longer Reading said...

Here's a question I was wondering about. If chaos can't be known, how was God able to love the other souls in chaos? Does that mean God can know chaos?

Also, does that mean the souls in chaos don't even know themselves?

Bruce Charlton said...

NLR - My assumption is that the starting point is *Beings* inhabiting (what might be described as) Chaos.

God-the-creator loved and loves the Beings, not the Chaos.

(By contrast; some pagans, deists, and pantheists - etc. - love Chaos, as well as Beings - which distinction makes a vast difference.)

Therefore Beings always have-been, are eternal. And Beings do know themselves - but, presumably, to very different degrees and in various ways (so that the consciousness of an animal is different from that of The Sun, although on some kind of continuum).